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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Six budget friendly ideas that don't compromise nutrition



The overwhelming concern for people who are trying to feed their families better, more nutritious, foods is the rising costs of grocery bills. We had hoped that by this stage, with tenants in our house, we would be able to start making regular over-payments on our mortgage (aka adoption fund).

Unfortunately, that's not really where we are at right now. Buying organic, free range produce with no cheap nutrition-less carbohydrates to bulk it up with means that our budget is tight, even though Matt has gotten some significant pay increase since we moved to Bedford.

The GAPS diet may have my children eating less, but it's still actually increasing our food budget :0(
Here are some ways you can minimize the costs of enjoying healthy foods. They may not be cheaper or more convenient than opening a box of cereal, but they are areas where you can compromise without damaging your families health.

1) Grow as much as you can - If you have a garden, forget rose bushes. Plant stuff you can eat. This has two benefits; firstly my children will eat anything that they have planted themselves, so it's a great way to convince them to eat more veggies! Secondly, you can dramatically cut your veggie bill by seed saving or regrowing from produce that you have bought.  Making the most of your vegetable box part one, part two.
Even if you only have a small space, you can at least grow herbs.

2) Know your clean fifteen from your dirty dozen - Every year the Environmental Working Group test harvests and produce a list of products that were most and least affected by pesticides used. The clean fifteen are probably safe to buy standard versions of if the organic ones are much more expensive. The dirty dozen should only be bought organic, or abstained from if you can't afford to do that. This years 'Clean Fifteen' were:

  • Onions
  • Sweetcorn (not GAPS legal)
  • Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Egg plant
  • Kiwi
  • Canteloupe
  • Sweet potatoes (not GAPS legal)
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Mushrooms
The Dirty Dozen were:
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Peppers
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Blueberries
  • Potatoes (not GAPS legal)
I think the exciting part about that list is that everything on the dirty dozen list, (with the exception of possibly nectarines) could easily be grown in a garden, and doesn't require major gardening skills. 

3) Preserving - Since we have been on GAPS I have not been making any Jams or Jellies this year :o( But there are still ways to preserve some of your summer harvest that don't involve a tonne of added sugar. We are currently producing cider from apples (the fermentation process removes the sugar if you let it go long enough), and dehydrating plenty of veg, as well as drying herbs to store. 


5) Start a co-op - bulk buying is so much cheaper, particularly on rarer items, so buying and shring with friends is a really great idea. It can be as simple as a facebook group.

6) Learn to eat lentils and navy beans - they are way cheaper than meat and add valuable tummy filling protein to your diet. If you buy them in bulk (dry) they are easy to store, cheap and you avoid BPA that's present in the canned version.

Hope this helps.

2 comments:

Helen Gracie said...

My tips for eating cheaply, although maybe easier in London than elsewhere - markets are your friend as are local ethnic food shops. My local Turkish shop gives me all the fresh fruit and veg I need at a fraction of the cost of the supermarket. There is also no packaging and they have an in house bakery for some cheeky olive bread etc (not GAPS freindly but very city worker friendly).

My local Indian food stores, of which I am lucky enough to have many, stock a million different kinds of dried beans, lentils, chickpeas etc etc and all the alternative flours - gram, rice etc - a hell of a lot cheaper than if I wanted to hunt them out at a Sainsburys. Also, they have just introduced me to dried soy mince. A perfect ingredient to bulk out pretty much anything. I've just used it to make an awesome chilli. The best thing in all of this - supporting local retail and your local community.

Katie-jo Gracie said...

In Bedford we have a tonne of ethnic food shops (Ideal Supermarket and Polski Delicatessi are two of my favourites).
Sadly the problem is trying to find organic, they just don't seem to sell it. We buy our 'clean fifteen' there, and I'm sure we'd sometimes be able to get other things too if I read Polish!

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